05 | More Than Comics

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ANNA JAMES WAITED KEENLY as Mayor Regina Mills placed yet another warm dish onto the table in front of her adopted son and a teenaged genius. The aroma that came from it made her stomach growl. Anna had been the one to prepare dinner just about every single night since she became friends with Mary Margaret Blanchard, which had been about a week or so. Regina had been spending a lot of late nights with Sheriff Graham, so she never had the time or energy to come home and cook something fresh without falling asleep in the middle of the process.

In her opinion, Anna liked it when someone else did all of the cooking every once in a while. It wasn't as though Anna disliked the idea of cooking. She liked to think she was more of a baker, but nonetheless, was a fine cook. She wasn't Guy Fieri-level good, but she wasn't comparable to a child using an Easy Bake Oven. One of Anna's biggest flaws when it came to cooking was that she often had a hard time working without wanting to devour all of the ingredients before her. She found it hard to believe that Regina never had those kinds of temptations when she cooked for the trio, which wasn't too often.

In all honesty, the cruel reality was that Anna was more of a child slave than a Nanny. She did a lot of cooking and cleaning, she babysat Henry which included helping raise him, and even did Regina's taxes once. But that wasn't how Anna thought of herself. She was just thankful to have a roof over her head, along with a steady job.

The brunette was snapped out of her thoughts when she heard 10-year-old Henry Mills let out a sigh and say, "Apple again?"

The girl's eyes widened as she rapidly glanced from Henry, to Regina, and back to Henry within a millisecond. She kicked Henry's shin from under the table, causing him to hiss, even though it was hardly a tap. "Uh, what-what Henry means to say is—" Anna attempted to say as she tried to save the child from getting grounded for a week.

Regina merely sent the teenager a wicked smile as she took a seat at the table. "Don't worry about it. We're all tired and saying things that we don't mean," Regina brushed off. She glanced back to her son. "Right, Henry?"

Henry let out a scoff. "Yeah, but if I was Snow White, you'd be thinking otherwise," Henry mumbled. "You'd be thinking of ways to rip out my heart."

"Henry," Anna hissed warningly.

"What was that?" Regina asked. When Henry remained quiet, Regina merely sighed. Anna knew that Regina just wanted to be on Henry's good side. Being a mom was tough. Anna wasn't sure how Regina did it everyday. She even admired her, in a way. "Never mind that. Henry, will you lead today?"

Without saying another word, the three shut their eyes and looked down as Henry began to speak. "Thank you for this food and for not letting anyone rip out any hearts," Henry mumbled, barely audible to the two girls before him. "And thank you for Anna because she's the greatest Nanny in the whole world. Amen."

A smile tugged at the corners of the girl's lips as she and Regina repeated the final word he spoke. However, that smile disappeared when she noticed the sad look in Regina's eyes. Nonetheless, the girl cleared her throat and awkwardly said, "Uh, let's dig in."

After yet another horribly awkward dinner that was filled with random pauses and quiet, but indirect accuses of being the Evil Queen, Anna was able to escape when she realized it was nearing Henry Mills' bedtime. Together, they put their plates away while Regina cleaned the remaining few dishes. Then, Anna forced Henry to change into his pajamas, brush his teeth, and to get in bed.

"Anna, do you think my mom's the Evil Queen?" Henry wondered as Anna pulled the blanket over the boy. The question caught Anna off-guard. "You don't think she'd really rip someone's heart out, right?"

"Hen, don't be ridiculous. Why would your mom be the Evil Queen?" Anna wondered. Though she said one thing, she was genuinely afraid of Regina at times. If Henry's little theories came true, she wouldn't be surprised to find out that Regina was the Evil Queen. Then again, maybe she would, considering fairytales weren't and will never be real. "Look, get some sleep and we'll talk about it in the morning." Anna leaned down and kissed the top of his head. "Goodnight. Love you."

"Love you more than comics, Anna."

Anna snorted. "Yeah, right."

She laughed to herself as she turned off the light and shut the young boy's door. Anna and Henry had a special connection. She felt the need to protect him at all costs, much like a mother would—or maybe even a sister. Whatever it was, all Anna knew was that her heart would shatter into millions of little pieces if Henry were to ever get hurt.

That wouldn't happen in a million years though. Anna was sure of it. After all, what was the worst that could happen, especially in a town like Storybrooke? The craziest thing to ever happen was when Sean Herman got Ashley Boyd pregnant, and that was old news in the girl's opinion. Even if Anna felt for Ashley and Sean, that didn't mean the pregnancy was anyone's business.

Switching from her day clothes to her pajamas, Anna stayed up for another half-hour simply going through her notes. She had a theory that if she studied a little bit right before bed, she would remember and understand what she was learning a lot better. So far, that theory wasn't working, but the obsessive and stubborn teenager didn't want to give up just yet.

Nonetheless, the teenager ended up falling asleep with her face on a pile of notes and drool dripping onto them. She fell into dreamland a lot faster than she could even blink...

"Oh... Oh my god..." a brown-haired girl trailed off, taking a few steps back. "It was you..." She looked from a boy to an older man. "...and you... Both of you..." She shook her head. "All this time... I told you two everything... and neither of you said a word. You lied about not knowing a single thing. Why?"


"Don't call me that," the brunette snapped. "I want answers. Starting from that day when my parents abandoned me. What the hell happened?"

"Anna, wake up! Anna!" a voice angrily and worriedly demanded, pushing the formerly sleeping girl.

The girl's eyes fluttered open as her head shot upward. Her eyes immediately landed on Regina Mills. "Huh? Wh-What time is it?" Anna mumbled with her morning voice. "Why... Why are you shouting at me?"

"Henry's missing!"

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